Foster alum reflects on future of Seattle

Foster alum Kylee Wible (BA 2011) reflects on her experience at the recent Future of Seattle panel discussion, hosted by the UW Alumni Association and the Office of External Affairs.

Kylee Wible (BA 2011) and Annie Chen (BA 2011) attend the Future of Seattle Panel

Kylee Wible (BA 2011) and Annie Chen (BA 2011) attend the Future of Seattle Panel Discussion.

It’s always exciting to meet with intelligent people and think about the future. I’m a Native Seattleite, third generation Husky, who loves nature, live music, and IPAs. That’s why I was especially excited to attend the Future of Seattle panel at UW.

Seattle’s Mayor, Ed Murray, provided opening remarks to get the diverse crowd excited about the upcoming discussion. He emphasized that Seattle is one of the wonders of the world, filled with creative minds that enable great change and innovation. Although our city has some of the lowest unemployment and poverty rates in the nation, he did touch on the homelessness issue and how mental health and addiction resources are key in combating this growing problem.

The mayor’s speech paved the way for the rest of the conversation that evening. The top themes that each panelist highlighted is our ever-expanding need to improve our Education and Transportation systems.

  • Trish Millines Dziko, an Education maven, emphasized the importance of making all schools great by promoting imagination, opportunity and exploration.
  • David Rolf, President of Seattle’s SEIU Local 775, said that it’s important for Seattle to “unleash human potential” and that “change is inevitable, growth is optional.”
  • Ruby Love, a social benefit expert, pressured the audience to think about housing and income inequality, and how that directly impacts personal and professional success.
  • Eric Carlson, a sustainable development guru, pointed our attention to improving transportation and reducing the degradation of the natural environment.

Each speaker has a unique story and background, but all of them echoed the same concerns about investing in our youth and our infrastructure. They challenged us to look beyond a quick fix, and to find the root of empowering people to do well. The left-leaning panel promoted public sector solutions, but creative discussions may lead us to explore private sector solutions as well. The important thing is to keep the conversation going and solicit ideas from our neighbors, business leaders and policy advocates to make our city even better.